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AG Dana Nessel criticizes President Trump’s threats to pull school funding

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 05:30:09-04

LANSING, MI (WSYM) - — Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted he will consider pulling funding from schools that don’t reopen because of the Coronavirus. In his tweet said, “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, schools are open with no problems. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

Attorney General Dana Nessel said the president isn’t thinking with the public’s health and safety in mind.

“And to say we’re all going to have the same plan for all 50 states who have to go back to school no matter what is a way we totally disregard the health and the safety of everyone in America, not just school children but their families and their communities,” said Nessel. “At the end of the school day they don’t stay at school, they go home and they go home to their parents and their grandparents who are older who do have other conditions that leaves them more susceptible.”

President Trump’s threat to take away school funding comes one day after Nessel and four other states filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and it’s leader Secretary Betsy DeVos. Under DeVos’ new policy, private schools would receive $21.5 million in CARES ACT funding. Nessel said that money should be allocated back to public schools.

Under the CARES ACT low-income students at public and private schools would receive funding.

However, DeVos is giving funding to all private school students and Nessel said those students don’t need the resources like the low-income students do.

She said, ”They can be able to learn online, they can be able to afford hotspots and internet access and laptops and Chromebooks and things of that nature. Children that are in some of the elite private schools and have more money are not nearly in need of that funding in the same way. They already have access and the ability to afford those things that allow remote learning and poor children simply don’t.”

Nessel said DeVos isn’t using Title 1 funds correctly. The funds under Title 1 are suppose to allocated to low-income students.

Nessel said,”Instead of looking at the number of low-income students, which they’re required to do under Title 1, they looked at the total number of students that are in these private schools and that is where the disparity comes in; and that is not the formula they have ever used and they’re not supposed to use that formula now in regard to the CARES funding.”

Nessel noted DeVos thinks she is using using Title 1 appropriately, but according to the Nessel she is misusing it.

“She will say ‘Well I am taking in consideration of Title 1,‘ but she’ll be utilizing a new formula that frankly she has created on her own that has never been utilized before, and really undermines the purpose of Title 1,” said Nessel.

Nessel said she has faith the states will win the lawsuit.

She said she is hoping for an injunction that will lead to a court order for her to allocate the $21 million back to public schools and low-income students.